Sunday, February 6, 2011

If You Do Not Do Everything To Keep a Customer Once They Are in the Door, Close the Door!

Recent, my fiancé and my daughter went to a hair dressing and nails place to get my daughter's nails done for her first high school formal dance.

She was so excited! They both were.

The two of them had spent hours shopping in two countries to get the perfect dress and now it was the day before the dance.

My daughter had received a gift certificate for xmas for this hairdresser. None of us had been there so they were totally new customers.

Actually they had called to set an appointment and the lady said it was not needed just show up.

So back to the time they went. I dropped them off and was going to the library myself.

As I'm pulling away, they come back out and my daughter looks absolutely defeated.

What happened was as soon as they walked in, they were ignored and then finally asked, "Can we help you?"

My fiance said she needed her nails done and had a gift certificate. The lady immediately said no you need an appointment for that.

Of course my fiancé and daughter said they called as they were told no appointment was necessary.

The lady began arguing and talking to another worker saying no one would have said that and being generally difficult.

I mean what the hell? If someone walks in getting ready for a really important day, treat them special and you will have their business for life. Simple lesson. But most people don't get it.

It doesn't cost anything to be polite and consider the person in front of you.

If you are not able to read the importance of a customer and their needs, close your doors now because you are just delaying your demise. It may be cheaper to give up now.

Also, if your employees do not realize this lesson, it's your job as the owner to make sure they treat a potential lifetime customer like a pile of gold. Remember how hard it was to get them in the door in the first place!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

KISSing Gets You There First

There is always more than one way to achieve a goal. To me, the way that gets the job done the fastest, and by default the easiest, will always win out against all other methods.

In other words, 'Keep It Simple Stupid' will let you beat anyone in business.

I was recently watching Nova and they were talking about the development of dinosaurs into birds. The title was actually "the four winged dinosaur".

There was a discovery of a fossil that was essentially a four winged dinosaur which was hypothesized to be down the evolutionary chain of modern birds.

Two very different people studied this crow-sized fossil (of what has come to be known as Microraptor) with the goal of making a 3D full-sized model of it.

The first 'artist' carefully and meticulously measured the fossil with a micrometer down to the nearest hundredth of a millimeter and transferred those measurements recreating the bones in that exacting detail in a piece of carved plastic (if I remember correctly).

It took him thousands of hours to transmute each flattened fossil's bone into a 3D real world skeleton.

He probably went through at least 5 bottles of insanity pills because each time he was talking about it, he would twitch and looked like he was having flashbacks.

Then there was another guy -- a scientist that REALLY wanted to see what this Microraptor would have looked like. He didn't want to wait a million years for this artist to either finish his model or go insane doing so.

So he made a mold of the fossil, cast it in plastic and pretty well just cut out the pieces of the jigsaw to assemble it in three dimensions.

I mean what could have been more simple? Brilliantly simple.

There was a big debate about how the artist's model may have been more accurate and changed many assumptions but in the end, it didn't matter. They got to see what the thing looked like and later shoved it in a wind tunnel to make more assumptions.

Either model would have worked for this.

So what was my point?

The scientist's simple skeleton got pretty close to the same result as the artist's ultra precise, took-like-forever model.

The product of perfection is that nothing gets done.

I always used to tell my team that 'simplicity is elegant'. It is a 3 hour piece of software that solves 95% of people's problems instead of a 3 year 'project' that solves 100%.

Keep it simple!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Business Ideas Revisited

An old business partner came to me recently with a business idea that I had to tell him would not work for some time.

It was actually a fantastic idea but when I began to question him more and more about it, I saw the major problem. It was a service for seniors that would actually not be paid by the senior themselves -- but instead their family would cover it.

Ok, this is what I call a "guarded-gate-keeper" problem. This means that you will have to first sell one person on what your service is and then they have to sell another on that same service. In other words, you are trying to make someone that knows nothing about sales or marketing into a salesperson to their own family.


This is wrong in so many ways. Yet it is a VERY VERY common mistake when people are thinking about a business idea to implement.

For one, you are targeting two different clients each with their own problems and concerns they are going to bring up. So if you can sell a hundred clients out of every ten thousand and of those hundred were only able to get one client...double Ack! The marketing costs to reach ten thousand people per client would kill you alone.

Ok, after we discussed it further we found a way to get around the original client and straight to the decision maker. However, when we researched this a bit (and I know from previous experience), the target client RARELY has enough money to deal with the problem (where the original target did but would not give it up or we could have sold it to them in the first place).

I told my old partner, let's think this through a lot more before putting anything into it. We know the service would be used. It's a fantastic idea. But we cannot reach the people that have the money to actually buy it just yet. We know there is a similar business that knows how to get around the guarded gatekeeper problem but we would first have to educate people into the service (another HUGE mistake for a beginner business).

Lesson? Everyone has a good business idea but when you begin to apply basic business knowledge (1. Is there a direct customer that will actually pay for your service and has the money to pay for it? -- 2. Do you have to educate people which almost never works for a starting busienss), it almost always falls apart.

My Marketing Site

I would like to invite everyone to also stop by my business marketing site to pick up a free video on secrets to exploding your customer-base and profits NOW!

I will also be explaining more details about my Internet Marketing business in this blog as I feel it is the most powerful growth shot you can give ANY business right now.

Business Update

I've spent a grueling year financially trying to recover from three major problems in my life:

1) A separation that created financial havoc for me.
2) I am still owed over $15,000 from clients and tenants that I will never see again.
3) My new marketing business is growing slowly but steadily, but not fast enough to keep up with the bills.

Each one of these problems has a seed of good in them though.

1) I've met someone I am totally compatible with and want to spend forever with. Each day is so different for me as I am now seeing why I worked so hard (to have those family moments I have always wanted). More important, I now know the value of family and rest and actually doing things you enjoy. I would have never had that if I continued on my previous path.
2) This one is hard. As of today, I am owed what I owe myself. So my net value is zero. However, the marketing skills I have learned this year, I know with certainty, will let me retire in 10 years.
3) The nature of Internet Marketing is that you begin slow, put lots of time into it, it makes a bit of money, then you sit and wait and it makes more money and sit and wait and it makes more money...all by itself. This is following the pattern as expected. It is called "building the pipeline" instead of carrying the water one bucket at a time. It was hard to get going but it is working.

Internet Marketing has been the toughest business subject I have had to learn but the lessons are so incredibly powerful, I can see never going hungry again.

As a side note, I have totally discontinued my rental business as I make about 3 to 10 times more (steadily) for 1/100 of the time I used to build it. I turned over the business to another firm that has since ran it to the ground in very short time (again, they didn't know even the most simplest business lessons that could have saved them).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fishing for Business

I spent a nice day fishing with my Granddad and soon to be Father-In-Law and in between a few bass and casting conversations I began to think how fishing was so much like marketing.
1) If fish were your customers that you are trying to catch, you would have to worry about three things: Are you fishing in the right spot. Are you using the correct bait? Are you fishing at the correct time?

In marketing, you are testing a lot of things until you come across that correct combination. Maybe a certain headline is not working (bait). It could be the perfect headline but you are not advertising it in the correct venue (spot). Perhaps your product is seasonal and you just didn't know you missed that season (time).

2) If you are fishing with a lot of people around, it is easier to spot trends and quickly adjust your bait. However, sometimes you tend to get tangled into each other and make each other mad.

There are actually two lessons: If you monitor your competition (like you should), you can easily adjust to the bait they are using or at least understand the market a bit better so you can quickly change. The second lesson is sometimes it's better to have others around you helping (not always!).

3) You can't catch any fish without a line IN THE WATER!

This one is pretty simple. If you are not putting your product out there, your ads out there, you are just not going to catch any new ones. I mean what do you think, they will magically jump onto your hooks from the water?

Good luck and happy fishing (for customers)!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Be Yourself In Business. Be Successful At What You Love.

I had a very famous musician once tell me, "Don't become good at what you do not like to do or people will expect you to do just that."

Recently I modified and decoded this statement. "Don't be in a business that doesn't follow your lifestyle and values, or you will spend your days unhappy".

Don't do it! Make the business follow your lifestyle and values.


I hate waking up and driving to work. I lothe taking phone calls at all hours. On the phone sales are just not me (although I can sell face to face no problem). But I have always done these for the team. Some I became really good at these things. And lost myself in the mix.

I'm not built for that life. I don't think anyone was built for 9 to 5 work. It is VERY unproductive, life-draining and just plain WRONG!

Which is why I have recently made the decision to only follow MY lifestyle. It is so freeing to be able to work at what time I am excited in a day to work. I can spend quality time with my family now instead of having the phone ring at a family function and people look at me with mean looks. Phone sales are not needed (and do not work anyway in my business).

I am 100% less stressed.


My previous business partners where so focused on money it was almost embarrasing to be seen with them. My values are such that I offer what I have to people, they see the value I can give them and they naturally pay me. In other words, if I do what I do and offer what is valuable, they pay me. It is not, "How much can we squeeze them for this service?" That only produced mad customers.

Another value I have chose to further persue is only dealing with people that understand and want to further understand business. I have dealt with too many that do not understand even the most basic principles of business (like find something that works and do it over and over again - not find something that works, do something else instead because we spent money on it).

Customers are your customers because their values match your own. I want customers that appreciate and value my efforts and understand my value to them -- not customers that complain about a price being too much or I missed their 13 useless phone calls to ask me the same thing over and over.

Having my business follow my lifestyle and values (instead of the other way around) has made me more at peace. Hope you can do the same.